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Independent Day School growing a second campus

A new middle school complex, plus expansions on the original campus, will cost about $8-million.

By SHERYL KAY

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 25, 2000


CARROLLWOOD -- Having passed the heyday of its development, it's unusual to see major construction equipment rumbling through the streets of Original Carrollwood.

That is until six months ago, when the Independent Day School, at 12015 Orange Grove Drive, broke ground on a new middle school campus. Grades six through eight will be relocated just across the street, west of the original campus. The complex, consisting of two buildings, will officially open in October.

"We've just grown so much so we're spreading it across two campuses," said Joyce Swarzman, head of the private school. "We'll have about 118 students in the new building."

The project adds almost 40,000 square feet of classrooms, an art room, music room, computer lab, and an indoor gymnasium to IDS. That, in addition to expansions on the original campus, will cost an estimated $8-million, of which $6-million has already been pledged.

* * *

The school has been designed with so-called "community areas," each surrounded by four classrooms. Students will be expected to meet in the shared areas, discuss and engage in common projects, and return to their classrooms with new ideas.

"We're trying to create a community of learners," said Swarzman. "People are our greatest resources today. All of us are smarter than one of us."

Although the current plan for the new campus only calls for the relocation of the middle school, there will be no reference to a "main campus" or a satellite.

"It's one campus with an east side and a west side," Swarzman said. "Our goal is to create enough need so that the students still come to (the original east side) of the campus to maintain a connection between all of the students, and between all of the teachers."

Schoolwide assemblies will continue on the east side of the campus, where the library and TV studio are.

While the excitement for the upcoming opening is growing, Swarzman is quick to note that in the end the expansions are still only buildings.

"It's what you do inside the structure that makes the real difference," she said.

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